Friday, April 8, 2016
Getting Out of Myself
As I have shared before, I often wrestle with fear as well as with a nagging feeling of inadequacy. To tell you the truth, I´ve always identified with the Israelite spies that Moses sent to explore Canaan. When they came back from their exploration of the Promise Land, they gave a rather sobering report:
…“We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are…The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13: 31-33)
I totally get it. I mean, really! What is God thinking? How does He expect us to even begin to tackle this thing…this is too much! It’s way bigger than us/me…We/I don’t have what it takes…I’m too weak…I’m too afraid, I’m too _________________.
I’m too much of a grasshopper!
I am a tiny, insignificant, self-absorbed, unfaithful, little grasshopper who doesn’t trust the One Who Made her.
I get so wrapped up in my own fear and worry that I forget to look up to He Who Holds each day of my life in His hands. I panic and all I see is the giants approaching. I cave in terror, waiting to be crushed. My eyes focus on the problem, on the disruption to my agenda, on the inconvenience to my own little world, on the lack of control. I lament the loss of my grip on the direction of my life, and I become even more self-centered than my already very self-centered-old-self.
I forget that in this world I will have trials and will face seasons of struggle. I forget that such times are also in God’s hands, and are custom-designed for me, to develop my perseverance and to refine my faith. I forget that even though I might feel alone, God is with me not only in the good days, but especially in the bad days. I forget that even though it is dark at the moment, His Light burns in me. I forget to keep my eyes on His face.
Then, as it often happens, God delivers me from my trial or through it…and I rejoice! I fall on my knees and give Him praise and thanks. I cry. I jump up and down. I call my friends and tell them to join me in my joy. I go out and celebrate. Then…I forget again.
I forget His great deliverance and I go on my merry old way, as if nothing had happened. All I want to do is to resume my static state of “normal.” All I want is to go back to live my life the way it was before the trial.
Today, however, I think…if I do that…the trial was all for nothing. Was I truly refined? Has my faith really gotten any stronger? Have I moved ahead on my sanctification process?
Of course, from God’s perspective, the answers to all of these and other questions are yes. He knows how many tests we need to take before we pass and move up to the next grade. From where I sit, however, the improvement is not truly visible or palpable until I learn to open my eyes to what God is doing in my life. Not until my heart softens to His will and purpose for my days will I see the point.
Until I learn to say: “I trust you will show me what to do with the gift you have given me,” I won’t see the result of my test. Until I let go of my own self-centeredness, I won’t see the glory of His designs for me. At least this is what I think and what I have been hearing from Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. In his sermon series on generosity, Pastor Keller has been hammering hard at what it means to be generous not just with our money, but with everything else: our forgiveness, our time, our gifts…
In the coming days, I would like to explore a few of the points that have stuck with me from this sermon series here on this blog. I pray that some of my musings may bring truth to your life as well.